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Gilford FIRST team wins district championship


Gilford's Drive Team with the winning banner - left to right top: Joe Bonnell, Drive team Coach Mike Andrews; Bottom Left to right : Tim Rice, Connor Craigie. (Courtesy Photo)

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A few of our team members that brought the competition ball, signed by every team member and Mentor, to Brad Parker upon their return to town Sunday night after Parker had to leave the competition early Sunday morning due to coming down with the flu and missing the actual win. Parker is the team's production manager) From left are Parker, Connor Craigie, Joe Bonnell and Logan Essaf. (Courtesy Photo)



GILFORD — The Gilford Screaming Eagles, with alliance partners, TJ (Squared) from Bridgewater, Massachusetts, and The Robotics Team from Dublin, N.H., won the Granite State FIRST Robotics competition held over the weekend in Windham.
The team pulled off a real underdog victory by outscoring 31 other exceptional teams according to Jackie Drever, one of the team's mentors.
''It came down to the final seconds on Sunday," said Drever, who said that the team also received the 2016 Granite State Entrepreneurship Award, sponsored Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers for their community outreach and fund raising strategies.
"It was quite a weekend and a real team effort. Each member of our team had their own assignment and deserves equal credit for our success. Everything fell into place for us over the weekend," said Connor Craigie, a junior who worked with a computer-assisted design program to help design the robot, and was strategist and co-driver over the weekend.
This year's game, FIRST Stronghold, is played by two alliances of three teams each. Alliances compete against each other to breach their opponents' defenses, known as outer works, and capture their tower. They score points by crossing elements of their opponents' outer works, scoring boulders in their opponents' tower goals, and surrounding and scaling their opponents' tower.
The competition sees teams involved in a six-week project in which they build a robot from a kit which is provided for them and requires them to use their math, science, technology and engineering skills to design and program the robot to perform certain tasks which are required as part of the competitions.
"We worked well with the other teams. We attacked with the TJ Squared team and sent Dublin back on defense until we needed their help late in the game to scale the walls," said Craigie.
He said that the Golden Eagles and their partners played 12 rounds in Saturday's qualifying round and won six of their seven matches on Sunday.
In the finals they met an alliance composed of the Cruising Crusaders from Manchester, Air Strike from Newport, Rhode Island, and the Duct Tape Dragons from Portland, Maine.
"We were ahead 98-93, and after the buzzer beeped, the scoreboard read 98-98. But the tally was still going on and we gained five points and when that flashed on the scoreboard our entire team erupted. It was a great win," said Craigie.
The team is preparing for it's next event, the UNH District Competition, March 25-26. The victory over the weekend means that they have already qualified for a spot at the New England FIRST New England District Championship, to be held April 13-16 at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. The world championship will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, from April 27 to 30.
The team is one of 3,000 from around the world with an estimated 78,000 students involved in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology competition, which was launched in 1989 by New Hampshire inventor and technological innovator Dean Kamen, with an eye to inspiring students to explore science and technology as future careers.

03-0Gilford High FIRST Robotics Team 1831, The Screaming Eagles, work with technicians to resolve communication issues during District Competition, in Windham. From right to left, Driver Tim Rice, Lead Mentor Mike Andrews, Design Lead Connor Craigie, and FIRST Robotics volunteers. (Courtesy photo)
Gilford High FIRST Robotics Team 1831, The Screaming Eagles, work with technicians to resolve communication issues during District Competition, in Windham. From right to left, Driver Tim Rice, Lead Mentor Mike Andrews, Design Lead Connor Craigie, and FIRST Robotics volunteers. (Courtesy photo)

The Greatest Season Ever- Gilford caps perfect campaign with a Division III championship win over rival Laconia

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The Gilford Golden Eagles girls basketball team exults in their victory over Laconia for the Division II championship Saturday. The team was undefeated, despite a tough fight from the Laconia Sachems. (Harry Kozlowski Photos/for The Laconia Daily Sun)


By HARRY KOZLOWSKI, Special to the Laconia Daily Sun

MANCHESTER – Perfection was achieved on the hardwood court of a packed Southern New Hampshire University field house Saturday. But it didn't come easy for the victors.

The Gilford girls' basketball team withstood a relentless effort from their rivals, the Laconia Sachems, to pull out a 42-38 win and earn their second state title, their first since 2009. The win was also redemption for their loss to Conant of Jaffrey in last year's final.

"It's the first in school history to go completely undefeated. When I tell the kids that later on, they'll realize that there's only one first, and it's them," said Golden Eagles coach Rick Forge.

"When you win 25 games, 18 in the regular season, three holiday tournament games, and four in the playoffs, it's special," said Forge.

It was still anyone's contest until the final minute. The game was tied at 38-38 with 1:13 to play when the Sachem's Helen Tautkus scored her 15th point of the game on a layup.

On the next possession Gilford's Jordan Dean, who missed her first six shot attempts, scored her only points of the game when she nailed a jumper with 57 seconds to play to put the Golden Eagles up 40-38.

On the following possession, Tautkus missed on a jumper. Kaily Nute of Laconia got the rebound, but Gilford's Madison Harris stole the ball back. With time running down, Calyce Swormstedt fouled Stevie Orton with 15 seconds to play. Orton made both key free throws to clinch the victory.

"We gave them everything we've had. That's how it is every time we've played," said Forge about the game, which was the eighth straight Eagles win over the Sachem in the past two years. "Both teams played well. We made one more play than they did."

A crowd of just under 1,200 made the drive down from the Lakes Region to fill the stands. One side was a sea of red while the other was all blue. Both sides made plenty of noise.

"When you have two school that are so close together, you can't ask for anything better. What a rivalry!" said Forge.

The fans were treated to game that featured nine lead changes. Laconia jumped out to an an early 9-2 lead but Gilford stormed back to go ahead 22-17 in the second. It was a tight battle the rest of the way.

Sachems coach Jeff Greeley pointed to foul shooting as a big reason for his team falling short.

"You can't win championships shooting 7-for-17 from the free throw line," said Greeley. Gilford was a little better hitting 6 of 11 from the charity stripe.

The big difference in shooting came on field goals. The Sachems shot just 26 percent and made only 3 three-point shots on 18 attempts. Gilford shot 40 percent from the field and made 4 of 9 from three.

"I'm proud of my girls the way the battled. We've come a long way the last four years, turning around from a 1-17 program to a state finals appearance," said Greeley, who held his infant daughter, Eva, after the game while he spoke with reporters.

Stevie Orton and Brooke Beaudet both led the Golden Eagles with 11 points. Cassidy Bartlett had 7. Orton also led with 9 rebounds.

For Laconia Helen Tautkus scored 15 and picked up 7 rebounds to lead her team, but hit only one free throw in seven tries. Natalie Compton scored 9 and Kailey Nute added 8.

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The Gilford Golden Eagles celebrate their win. (Harry Kozlowski photos/for The Laconia Daily Sun.)
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Gilford’s Stevie Orton drives to the basket against Kaily Nute of Laconia. Her basket put the Golden Eagles uo 18-17 at 4:33 in the second quarter. Gilford completed a perfect 22-0 season with a tight 42-38 win in the NHIAA Division III girls’ basketball final at SNHU Saturday. (Harry Kozlowski photos/for The Laconia Daily Sun.)

Genesis bows out of parking garage deal


LACONIA — Genesis Behavioral Health has withdrawn its offer to purchase the privately owned portion of the downtown parking garage, putting a fresh twist in the process of repairing and improving the facility.

The city owns the ramps and north end of the second and third levels of the garage while the ground floor and the south end of the second and third levels along with seven commercial units on the ground level, are privately owned by Downtown Crossing LLC.

Last year, Genesis entered into a purchase-and-sales agreement to purchase the privately owned section of the facility for $1.1 million and convert the space leased to the Grace Capital Church to house its administrative operations and and clinical services. With the discovery of structural deficiencies requiring repairs to both the public and private portions of the garage, Genesis approached Daniel Disangro, the principal of Downtown Crossing LLC about either bearing the cost of repairs to the private portion of the garage, which are estimated at $300,000, or discounting the sales price of the property by a comparable amount. .

Kristen Welch, director of development and communications at Genesis, said Monday that "the owner's proposal did not meet our needs or our timeline." Likewise, Kevin Sullivan of Weeks Commercial, who represents Disangro, said he was informed that "unfortunately, the logistics and timing associated with that proposal do not fit with our needs or schedule."

"The property is back on the market," Sullivan said, adding that the listing price remains $1.1 million.

Genesis intended to finance the acquisition and conversion of the property with the proceeds of a $5.5 million bond issued by the New Hampshire Health and Educational Facilities Authority. Maggie Pritchard, executive director of Genesis, said that the agency is looking at alternatives in hopes of acquiring a property this year, when the necessary funds are securely in hand. She said that if a transaction is not closed before January 2016, the agency would have to seek an extension or reapply for the funding.

Meanwhile, last month the City Council agreed to proceed with designing and engineering repairs and improvements to the garage at a cost of $150,000, without an assurance that the owner of the private section of the garage will bear the cost of repairing its share of the facility. Without a sale pending, the urgency of proceeding with repairs has eased. City Manager Scott Myers said that city officials will turn to seeking an "equitable arrangement" with Disangro to share the cost of the work.